Snowmobile Rescue Season in West Yellowstone 

 On December 29, 2015, at 2:34 p.m., the Hebgen Basin Fire Department received a walk-up report of a snowmobile crash with injuries on the Two Top trail. A 911 call from an individual still on scene of the crash provided GPS coordinates for the Rescue Team. The crash location was approximately ½ mile west of West Yellowstone.
The injured snowmobiler, a 31 year old female from Brooten Minnesota, suffered an upper leg injury when the snowmobile she was riding left the trail and struck a tree.  Personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, the West Yellowstone Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, and Hebgen Basin Fire Department responded to assist with the rescue.  Rescuers responded on snowmobiles to the GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call. They located the snowmobiler who was complaining of sever upper leg/hip pain and quickly packaged her onto a rescue sled. Rescuers then transported her to West Yellowstone where a Hebgen Basin Fire Department Ambulance was waiting to transport her to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that it’s important to know your equipment and ride within your ability. Beginners should stick to groomed trails only and drive during the day. Travel at safe speeds, especially on unfamiliar terrain where unseen hazards may be present. 

Close Call on Cold Day

 
(West Yellowstone, Mont. )

On December 27, 2014, at 4:55 p.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call from a snowmobiler who was stuck in the deep powder near the cabin creek divide, approximately 14 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. The snowmobiler, a 45 year old male from Steamboat Springs Colorado, reported that he had gotten stuck after breaking a drive belt. While speaking with a deputy, he also reported that only he had minimal survival gear with him.

 Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriffs Office, the West Yellowstone Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, and Forest Service responded to assist with the rescue.  

With temperatures hovering below zero and darkness closing in quickly, rescuers responded on snowmobiles to the GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call. They located the snowmobiler who was able to get a fire going to ward off the frigid temperatures. Rescuers were able to quickly extract the man’s snowmobile and escort him back to his vehicle. 

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind snowmobilers that it is strongly recommended to never snowmobile alone. If you do choose to ride alone, be doubly certain you have your tool kit, safety equipment and survival gear with you. It is also recommended that you have your cell phone fully charged and keep it someplace warm to avoid excessive battery drain. In this case, the GPS coordinates were invaluable at quickly locating the stranded snowmobiler.

Lots of Snow is Good and Bad for Snowmobiling

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(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On December 21, 2015, at approximately 2:13 p.m., the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of three snowmobilers from North Dakota that had become separated from their group of five. The three snowmobilers reported that while riding out of Teepee Creek, North of West Yellowstone, when they had become disoriented and were unable to locate the trail. They also reported being stuck in a canyon and were unable to return the way they had come.

Due to the extremely technical snow conditions, a group of snowmobilers with specialized riding skills from Gallatin County Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone was put together and they began to make their way to GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call.

While responding the snowmobilers re-contacted deputies and indicated that they had managed to find the trail and were making their way back to their vehicles. Deputies made contact with the snowmobilers as they made it out of the trail system and found them to be extremely tired but otherwise uninjured.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that their chosen sport can be extremely physically demanding. With the heavy snow conditions currently present in the area, snowmobilers are advised to stay together in their groups because it’s easy to become hopelessly stuck and be unable to self retrieve if you find yourself alone.

Injured Snowmobiler Rescued in Werst Yellowstone 

  
On December 20, 2015, at approximately 9:38 a.m., the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an injured snowmobiler between junction 22 and 23 on the Black Bear Cutoff which approximately 9 miles south of West Yellowstone.  

A Ground Crew from Gallatin County Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone responded and located a 53 year old female from Savannah Georgia who was complaining of lower back injury. The female suffered the injury while trying to lift the back of her stuck snowmobile. The ground crew quickly packaged the patient on a rescue sled and transported her back to West Yellowstone where a Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance transported her to the newly opened Big Sky Medical Center. 

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that despite the fact that snowmobiling is done while sitting on top of a motor vehicle, it can be a physically demanding sport, requiring strength and flexibility to navigate and keep the snowmobile on track. Seemingly simple tasks can quickly result in injury if you’re not cognizant of your physical limitations.  

Crime Stoppers Reward – Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick

CrimeStoppers Press Release

December 16, 2015

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate the disappearance of Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, whose abandoned vehicles were discovered at the edge of a bean field south of Willow Creek, Montana on July 4, 2015. At the time of his disappearance Dr. Fitzpatrick was driving a green Ford Explorer with North Dakota plate #JPN688 and pulling a small white enclosed trailer with North Dakota plate #T266379.

Dr. Fitzpatrick is described as 6’0’, 240 pounds with white hair. Dr. Fitzpatrick was last seen at a bank in Bozeman on July 2, 2015 wearing a green polo type shirt and brown pants.

The Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices received reports that Dr. Fitzpatrick was seen at the Harrison Volunteer Fire Department’s, Fourth of July barbeque on the evening of July 4th. Law enforcement has been unable to confirm these sightings.

The investigation is ongoing and the Fitzpatrick family is offering a reward of up to $5000 for information that leads to Dr. Fitzpatrick’s recovery.

If anyone has information regarding this missing person case you should contact the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at (406) 582-2121 or CrimeStoppers at (406) 586-1131. Information provided to CrimeStoppers may be kept anonymous. Persons providing information that leads to Dr. Fitzpatrick’s recovery may be eligible for a cash reward.

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